Local & Regional

ENID, Okla. (AP) — Two Oklahoma school districts are investigating after junior high football players found a wire noose hanging in a locker room.

Players from Ponca City Junior High School discovered the noose in the visiting team's locker room prior to a game at the stadium at Enid High School on Tuesday night.

Enid Public Schools officials say the noose made from a USB cord was hanging in a shower stall.

One Ponca City parent says he had to explain to his 13-year-old son what a noose symbolizes. The noose has long been used as a form of racial intimidation.

reeseok.com

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A Republican candidate for an Oklahoma state House seat said Thursday a campaign staffer's mistake led to the title of a bondage porn video being included on his campaign finance report.

Tulsa County Sheriff

One of two men who have been charged in the beating death of a hogtied Oklahoma man is the father of the victim's girlfriend, who told detectives she asked them to beat up her boyfriend because he had been abusing her, police said Thursday.

The body of Anthony Pietrzak, 18, was found at around 2 a.m. Thursday just outside of Tulsa's city limits and about 3 miles from his and his girlfriend's home. An anonymous caller told police on Tuesday that a man known only as Anthony had been beaten to death and dismembered.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The crew that will sail the combat ship USS Tulsa has been in the city this week learning about their vessel’s namesake.

The city council and Mayor G.T. Bynum gave the crew keys — yes, two keys — to the city.

"We're hopeful that the crew knows any time, any day, wherever they happen to be in the world, that they have a whole city of 400,000 people here who are thinking about them and rooting for them," Bynum said.

Navy Lt. Junior Grade Matt Prentice said getting keys to the city and visiting Tulsa has been an honor.

Wikimedia

Despite complaints it doesn’t fall under the purview of special session, a state House committee passed a bill Thursday requiring intensive checks of Oklahoma’s Medicaid rolls every three months.

House Bill 1093 tells the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to review a wide range of records — including income, employment, residency status, enrollment in other public assistance, financial resources, incarceration status, lottery winnings and death records — for each enrollee and notify them if there’s a discrepancy.

Lankford's office

WASHINGTON (AP) — Russian internet trolls are exploiting the controversy over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to stir up divisions in the United States, a Republican on the Senate intelligence committee said Wednesday.

Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma said paid social media users, or "trolls," were hashtagging "take a knee" and "boycott NFL" to amplify the issue.

OKC Fire Department-Facebook

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City firefighters say a woman has been rescued after swift water overtook an SUV.

Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson says the woman was plucked from the vehicle shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday. She had been on a northwestern Oklahoma City roadway that flooded.

Fulkerson says as many as 30 firefighters, including divers, responded to reports that a vehicle had been pushed against a guard rail by rushing water. Heavy rainfall has swollen area lakes and streams.

C-SPAN

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency is spending nearly $25,000 to provide Administrator Scott Pruitt something none of his predecessors have had — a custom soundproof booth for making private phone calls.

EPA did not respond to questions on Wednesday from The Associated Press about the government contract for the "privacy booth for the administrator" ordered last month, according to a summary of the contract listed in a federal procurement database. The contract for the booth, due for delivery by Oct. 9, was first reported by The Washington Post.

Thursday's top stories:

  • Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall adjourns special session after three days.
  • The Oklahoma State Department of Health turns to furloughs and buyouts to deal with a $10 million budget shortfall.
  • A tip leads Tulsa police to the city's 66th homicide victim of 2016.

State of Oklahoma-File photo

The Oklahoma State Department of Health says it will furlough some employees and offer buyouts to others in order to cover an estimated $10 million budget shortfall.

Starting Oct. 30, employees will have to take an unpaid day off every two weeks unless they make $35,000 a year or less. The health department is also preparing voluntary buyout offers it will present to employees in the coming weeks.

Coming off consecutive years of roughly $1 billion state budget shortfalls, state lawmakers cut the health department's budget 2.8 percent this year.

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A tip received Tuesday led Tulsa police to the city's 66th homicide victim of the year early Thursday.

The dismembered body of 18-year-old Anthony Pietrzak was found at 2 a.m. in the 2000 block of north Yale Avenue with the help of Tulsa County Sheriff's deputies.

Dearld Peal, 46, and Tracey Price, 40, are charged with murdering and kidnapping Pietrzak.

A Crime Stoppers report received by the Tulsa Police Department on Tuesday said Pietrzak was in a relationship with a woman and had been beaten to death at a home in the 2800 block of east 42nd Place North.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

With Linde Oktoberfest a few weeks away, River Parks Authority received Wednesday its annual donation from the event’s profits.

River Parks is getting $250,000 after what Tulsa Oktoberfest Board Chair John Hickey called a “banner year” in 2016. Hickey said River Parks has been a partner and major part of Oktoberfest’s success over many years.

"They've done a tremendous amount for the festival in terms of infrastructure, electricity, plumbing, storage — a variety of things," Hickey said.

Those funds will go to various River Parks needs.

Tulsa State Fair

The Tulsa State Fair starts Thursday, and Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado shared some tips to stay safe.

Sometimes kids get lost in the big crowds. Last year, deputies working the fair reunited 145 lost kids with their families.

"And although that's successful and that's a stat that we certainly are proud of, what I would like to do next year is be able to say, 'You know what? We didn't have a single incident of a lost child,'" Regalado said.

To relieve prison overcrowding, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections will let certain nonviolent inmates out on a new supervised release program.

The Community Supervision Program will be strictly monitored — at least two probation officer visits a month and six months of GPS monitoring to start. Only nonviolent, minimum security inmates will be eligible.

"There are no violent offenders, no sex offenders, no child abusers, no domestic infractions — none of those people are going to qualify for this program," said DOC Director Joe Allbaugh.

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With Fall officially here, the Tulsa Health Department will begin offering flu shots next week. Ellen Niemitalo is Health Department of Manager of Clinic Services. She says a vaccination is the best way to avoid or mitigate the effects of flu. A shot is recommended for everyone six months of age and older.

The shots will be available at Tulsa County clinics beginning Monday. You can go online to the Health Department website or call to get hours or make appointments.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gov. Mary Fallin has appointed an assistant district attorney as the new district attorney for District 27 in northeastern Oklahoma.

Fallin said Wednesday that she's appointing Jack Thorp as prosecutor for Adair, Cherokee, Sequoyah and Wagoner counties.

Thorp replaces Brian Kuester, who resigned after being appointed U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

Thorp has served as Kuester's top assistant and previously was an assistant district attorney in Tulsa County and was deputy prosecuting attorney in western Arkansas.

Oklahoma House/KWGS News

With the key piece of Oklahoma Republican lawmakers’ plan to fix the budget apparently dead on arrival, House Speaker Charles McCall adjourned special session Wednesday.

Democrats and tax-averse Republicans weren’t in support of a new cigarette tax to fill a $215-million dollar budget hole. House Majority Leader Jon Echols says negotiations will continue. Adjournment just means the legislature won’t spend $30,000 dollars a day in official special session.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Sam Presti has evolved with the times.

Oklahoma City's general manager is perhaps best known for drafting Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Over the years, instead of adding big-name free agents and making blockbuster trades, he has added relatively inexpensive players around his stars and built through the draft.

His plans have mostly worked. The Thunder have played in the Western Conference Finals four times and the NBA Finals once since Presti took the job in 2007, and both Durant and Westbrook have won MVP awards.

Wednesday's top stories:

  • State lawmakers send a new cigarette tax proposal to the full House, but it probably doesn't have the votes needed to pass.
  • State workers want lawmakers to give them a raise during special session.
  • Oklahoma stands to lose $49 million for poor children's health care if Congress doesn't act by Saturday.

Gage Skidmore

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada cattleman and state's rights figure Cliven Bundy is due before a federal magistrate judge to say whether he intends to represent himself during his upcoming trial stemming from a 2014 armed standoff with federal agents.

The Wednesday hearing comes after Bundy's defense attorney, Bret Whipple, filed documents last week saying that Bundy wants him off his case.

Whipple says he doesn't know if Bundy has another lawyer or intends to serve as his own lawyer.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Authorities have filed charges in a prostitution investigation that included undercover police work at a network of illicit massage parlors in Oklahoma City and Lawton.

Oklahoma County court records show pandering and conspiracy charges were filed Sept. 21 against two men and two women from Oklahoma City. Authorities say in an affidavit of probable cause that one of the men has links to businesses in Houston and the nearby suburb of Spring, Texas, and that the man wired cash on two different occasions to China.

Oklahoma State University

NEW YORK (AP) — In one of the biggest crackdowns on the corrupting role of money in college basketball, 10 men — including a top Adidas executive and four assistant coaches — were charged Tuesday with using hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to influence star athletes' choice of schools, shoe sponsors, agents, financial advisers, even tailors.

Some of the most explosive allegations appeared to involve Louisville, one of the college basketball's biggest powerhouses.

What do football, soccer and lacrosse players have in common? They’re the athletes most likely to suffer from concussions.

Concussion specialist Dr. Eric Sherburn will speak at a seminar about how concussions happen and how to recover from them. Sherburn said concussions are serious injuries, and student athletes must take themselves out of a game if they think they’ve suffered one but coaches or referees don’t recognize it.

okhca.org

Though the Senate now will not vote by Saturday’s deadline for Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act with a simple majority, it’s also the last day for another significant action.

Additional funding approved under President Barack Obama for the Children’s Health Insurance Program must be reauthorized by then.

"Should the enhanced CHIP funding not be reauthorized, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority stands to lose about $49 million in federal funds in state fiscal year 2018," said Cate Jeffries with OHCA.

Looking to fill a $215 million budget hole, Oklahoma House and Senate committees passed Tuesday a second run at a $1.50 per pack cigarette tax increase, but it probably doesn’t have the votes to pass both chambers.

Three distinct factions have emerged in the legislature: Those supporting the cigarette tax on its own, those supporting it as one piece of a package of revenue measures and those against the legislature raising taxes at all.

Senate Appropriations and Budget Chair Kim David is among those urging lawmakers to pass the cigarette tax now.

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The Oklahoma City School Board will not gather public input before deciding whether to rename three schools that are named for Confederate generals.

The board on Monday adopted an agenda for its next meeting that doesn't include a recommendation from Superintendent Aurora Lora to survey parents, students and others on whether to rename Lee, Jackson and Stand Watie elementary schools.

Board Chair Paula Lewis told The Oklahoman that board members consistently hear from the community and that the board's job is to lead.

Oklahoma Watch

A group of drug companies have asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Oklahoma attorney general that accuses the companies of fueling the state's opioid epidemic through fraudulent marketing.

About a dozen pharmaceutical companies filed a legal brief Friday saying they've complied with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's requirements to warn the public about potential risks that come with using their drugs.

The brief also says the companies can't be blamed for all the state's opioid-related problems.

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VALLIANT, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says one man has been arrested and a second is sought in the fatal shooting of another man in southeastern Oklahoma.

The OSBI says 18-year-old Christyan Boswell was shot to death at an intersection Saturday night during an apparent drug transaction.

The agency says 20-year-old Cody Hilderbrand was arrested at the scene.

Hilderbrand is now jailed on a first-degree manslaughter charge. Court records do not list an attorney for him.

The OSBI says a second suspect remains at large.

Tuesday's top stories:

  • State lawmakers officially enter special session, with two new House members taking their seats.
  • Legislators entered the capitol without a budget deal, and the Oklahoma Policy Institute says they're short on revenue measures.
  • Oklahoma ranks as one of the least friendly states for teachers.

File photo

A 1-month-old baby found on the side of an Oklahoma interstate in a car seat stuffed with $5,500 in cash and a birth certificate was in state custody Monday as authorities continued to investigate why the boy was abandoned.

Oklahoma City police said a church group returning from an amusement park spotted the child Saturday about 10 feet from the shoulder of Interstate 40. Sgt. Gary Knight said Monday that officers also found a Social Security card with the baby.

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